Black Bears

My last blog post was over three years ago and a LOT has changed since then, both in the world at large and for me personally. During the pandemic, my family and I bought a fixer-upper house in a western North Carolina mountain cove adjacent to the Pisgah National Forest and working on it has occupied a large part of my time. In spite of being busy with the remodel, I’ve had time to explore and enjoy our home’s surrounding forest, which has inspired me artistically in a big way. Last year, I embarked on a series called “Night Creatures”, which features animals we’ve seen on the security cameras around our home, one of which, the Black Bear, is the topic of this post.

Black Bears

The American Black Bear Ursus americanus was chosen as the topic for my return post because seeing this magnificent wild animal on a regular, and sometimes daily, basis has been a magical experience for me. American Black Bears are omnivores native to North America and are listed as a least-concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to their large population estimated to be twice that of all other bear species combined. We love our bears here in western North Carolina and we are committed to living with them. For more information about Black Bears please check out this link to North Carolina Wildlife Resources.

Observations about Black Bears in my Neighborhood

Will show up at any time of the day/night in western North Carolina, although they visit less frequently January – March.

Extremely curious about everything and investigate with their noses first, followed by paws.

Generally seem disinterested and/or cautious around humans; however, check out Bearwise for tips on living with Black Bears because they CAN be a dangerous nuisance, especially if you leave food garbage outside.

Black Bear Artwork/Video

One of the standout things about black bears to me are their walk. Like humans, they put the whole surface of their feet on the ground, which is called plantigrade locomotion. This walk, which I’ve seen on dozens of our outdoor camera videos now, inspired my artwork “Night Walkers” below.

Video of a Black Bear in Montreat, NC copyright Please credit the website!


Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) – ABR cares for orphaned and injured black bear cubs for return to their natural wild habitat; increases public awareness about coexisting with black bears; and studies all aspects of returning cubs to the wild.

Bearwise – Bearwise helps people live responsibly with black bears.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources – mission is to conserve North Carolina’s wildlife resources and their habitats and provide programs and opportunities that allow hunters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy wildlife-associated recreation.

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